Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A study of corporate board accountability for best-practice, organizational reform based on governance research theory
by Boccaccio Vallera, Barbara M., D.M., University of Phoenix, 2007, 150; 3504522
Abstract (Summary)

The relative control of corporate boards of directors over management has been a subject of theoretical analysis and debate in literature on organizational theory, economics, and management (Fama & Jensen, 1983; Herman, 1981; Mizruchi, 1983; Vance, 1983). Westphal and Zajac (1995) discussed the central question, which is whether boards are an effective management control mechanism (Fama & Jensen), or a “management tool” (Pfeffer, 1972, p. 219), an authority for management initiatives (Herman), who often surrender to management their major domain of decision-making to hire, fire, and compensate top management (Vance; Zajac, 1990). An in-depth review of contemporary, peer-reviewed literature revealed a number of high-profile, corporate defendants’ demonstration of a common thread of unethical and fraudulent behaviors uncovered by governance experts research of corporate Board of Directors (BOD). This study was designed to examine elements of accountability and social responsibility on the part of the BOD that hold official seats of jurisdiction and leadership over their corporate leader. A second objective was to compare resulting themes against survey responses from a peripheral sample of board of directors in the United States. Attributes of BOD were explored in the lives of governance leaders and subject matter experts by means of thematic analysis of horizontal experiences, a qualitative transcendental phenomenological approach to inquiry based on Moustakas’ (1994) modified Van Kaam method. In addition, a quantitative research approach in partnership with the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) and the scientific research consulting firm Valtera Corporation included national survey results. In future governance research efforts, a hermeneutic analysis of relevant literature will help to uncover characteristics of BOD leadership. A phenomenological analysis revealed numerous themes, and the resulting composite textural-structural descriptions of lived professional experiences formed an integrated characterization of the nature, role, and influence of BOD leadership in American corporations. Implications of this research centered on its ability to facilitate a common language for increasing understanding of training for BOD and development programs specifically designed for corporate profit-focused organizations. Moreover, by advancing actionable knowledge (Argyris, 1996) of effective perceptions and practices among BOD leaders, this research may support the creation of a possible framework for assisting with the integration of BOD leadership development programs in socially responsible for-profit firms. Recommendations for encouraging future studies are provided.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Griffin, Thomas
School: University of Phoenix
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 73/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Ethics, Management
Keywords: Accountability, Board of directors, Board of governance, Business ethics, CEO leadership, Ethical decision-making
Publication Number: 3504522
ISBN: 978-1-267-25194-7
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